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Selena Gomez is opening up about her bipolar diagnosis and reflecting on how the “nasty” rumors surrounding her treatments for mental health weighed on her.
In an Elle cover story published Thursday, the 29-year-old actress and singer said she was affected by some of the responses when she entered a facility for mental health treatment in 2014 after being diagnosed with lupus. “I don’t even know what they really believed I was doing — drugs, alcohol, running around, partying. The narrative was so nasty,” she said. Gomez would also eventually undergo a kidney transplant in 2017.
Gomez went on to explain that growing up in the public eye and enduring scrutiny always made her feel “like an object” and “gross,” while physical illnesses also took a toll on her. “My lupus, my kidney transplant, chemotherapy, having a mental illness, going through very public heartbreaks — these were all things that honestly should have taken me down,” she explained. “Every time I went through something, I was like, ‘What else? What else am I going to have to deal with?'”
Gomez has long been candid about her battles with anxiety and depression and revealed last year that she had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Of her diagnosis Gomez reflected, “I felt a huge weight lifted off me when I found out. I could take a deep breath and go, ‘OK, that explains so much.'”
After multiple struggles, she explained that helping people is “really what kept me going.” She said, “There could have been a time when I wasn’t strong enough, and would have done something to hurt myself.”
Gomez has continued to seek philanthropic work and pledged that going forward, she hopes to add a “charity aspect” to all of her projects: “If something good isn’t coming out of it, I’m not going to do it. I don’t need money.”
After two seasons, her HBO Max cooking show Selena + Chef has raised $360,000 for 23 nonprofit organizations. Meanwhile, her Rare Beauty brand includes the Rare Impact Fund, which aims to raise $100 million for mental health services during the next 10 years.
Gomez also shared that she stopped using social media because she could not find the “purpose” in posting photos. In 2017, she let her assistant take control of her social media accounts, however, Gomez still contributes the photos and quotes. The decision allowed her to take control of her mental health: “This tiny little phone that had 150 million people on it — I just put it down,” she said. “That was such a relief for me.” She now does things the old fashioned way — calling her friends on the phone — instead of waiting to hear about their lives through Instagram.
“I don’t have it on my phone, so there’s no temptation,” she shared. “I suddenly had to learn how to be with myself.”
Gomez will soon appear alongside Steve Martin and Martin Short in the Hulu comedy Only Murders in the Building, premiering Aug. 31.
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